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Barham E.,Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Plant Biosystems | Year: 2016

Abstract: The ever increasing threat from new and emerging plant pests and pathogens poses a significant threat to plant health on a global scale. Once an organism is introduced and establishes itself in a new region, it is incredibly costly, both in terms of environmental impact and economic loss, to manage it. In most cases, eradication and containment programmes are most effective when the organism is identified early on. Further to this, the most cost effective management of all is preventing introduction in the first place. Therefore, the role for early warning systems in plant health is becoming more evident. Botanic gardens and arboreta are unique resources that can help provide such early warning and are, currently, often overlooked within plant health. The staff and volunteers that work within these botanical institutes are knowledgeable and passionate people, who if made aware of current threats, can become additional ‘eyes and ears’ for first detection of new introductions. Gardens can also help to increase available information on organisms and, potentially, identify the ‘unknown’ organisms through sentinel research. Plant collections provide a large range of exotic hosts (so-called ‘sentinels’) growing in diverse regions around the world which can be studied to determine susceptibility to potential pests that have not been introduced to their native ranges. The International Plant Sentinel Network (IPSN) has been developed in order to support such work and bring together botanical institutes with organisations working within plant health. © 2016 Società Botanica Italiana.

It is thought that around one third of all plants, some 100 000 species, are currently threatened with extinction, and this figure is likely to increase due to the impacts of climate change. The world's botanic gardens have a major role to play in conserving plant diversity, through their ex situ collections and their support for reintroduction and restoration programmes, as well as through their education and public awareness programmes. The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) provides a framework for action at both global and local levels, and has been widely adopted by the botanic garden community. The GSPC includes 16 targets to be achieved by 2010 and progress towards these was assessed during an in-depth review in 2008. The review reported variable progress, but it is believed that the Strategy overall has been a success. Plans are now underway to update the strategy beyond 2010, with particular reference to the impacts of climate change. This paper provides more details of the progress towards specific ta gets of the GSPC and the role of botanic gardens in achieving these targets. © 2013 BGBM Berlin-Dahlem.

Oldfield S.,Botanic Gardens Conservation International
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Botanic gardens play an important role in conserving plant diversity making a major contribution to the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). This strategy, agreed under the auspices of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) in 2002, has 16 ambitious targets to be met by 2010. The targets are currently being revised to reflect the reality of climate change and to make explicit their links to the Millennium Development Goals. An important component of the GSPC is the conservation of wild plants for food and medicine. This paper addresses both the overall achievements and challenges of the GSPC and the practical ways that botanic gardens are supporting the conservation of plants important for rural livelihoods. It emphasises the potential for stronger collaboration between botanic gardens and other agencies for the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity.

Sundberg M.D.,Emporia State University | Holsinger K.,University of Connecticut | Kennedy K.,Missouri Botanical Garden | Kramer A.T.,Botanic Gardens Conservation International | And 4 more authors.
BioScience | Year: 2011

The US Botanical Capacity Assessment Project (BCAP) was initiated as a first step to gauge the nation's collective ability to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century. The project, in which the authors of this article are involved, specifically aimed to identify multisector contributions to and gaps in botanical capacity in order to develop growth opportunities to address research and management problems. One of the primary gaps revealed by the BCAP surveys was that the skills graduate students identified as their greatest strengths closely matched the areas future employers (government and private sectors) identified as needing greatest improvement. Although our survey focused on only one discipline (botany), we suspect that the results are applicable throughout the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. We suggest that it is critical for university faculty and administrators to team with professionals from government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations to identify critical and desired knowledge and skill sets and implement the necessary curriculum changes to provide graduates with the tools they need. © 2011 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Williams S.J.,Bangor University | Jones J.P.G.,Bangor University | Clubbe C.,Conservation | Sharrock S.,Botanic Gardens Conservation International | Gibbons J.M.,Bangor University
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2012

International agreements and policies play an increasingly prominent role in strategies to combat biodiversity loss. However, conservation policies can only have a conservation impact if implemented. Identifying factors determining the influence of a policy on institutions could improve the process of policy development and communication. We examine how and why botanic gardens have responded to the first phase of a global conservation policy (the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation GSPC) using quantitative (questionnaires completed by 255 botanic gardens in 67 countries) and qualitative (in-depth interviews with five gardens in five countries) methods. We found that while the majority of gardens were aware of the GSPC, older gardens in the global north, and younger global south gardens are most influenced by the GSPC. Gardens that are members of a global botanic garden network and gardens with larger budgets are implementing more targets. Targets implemented tend to be aligned with existing institutional aims. Gardens highlighted an absence of a mechanism to feedback successes and failures. The GSPC has recently been reviewed and new targets for the period of 2011-2020 developed. To widen the influence of the GSPC, dissemination should include guidelines on how institutions could implement the policy, with particular focus on influencing younger global north gardens and older global south gardens. There are plans to develop a toolkit to help gardens better understand and implement the GSPC. We recommend the toolkit include a system for GSPC implementers to communicate with each other and to feedback to policy formulators. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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